Who We Are

Doyice J. Cotten is an emeritus professor of sport management at Georgia Southern University where he taught graduate and undergraduate courses in sport law and risk management. He manages his own writing and risk management consulting business, Sport Risk Consulting.

During his professional career, he has been active in many professional organizations in the areas of sport management and physical education. Dr. Cotten served as president of the Sport and Recreation Law Association. He also served as president of the Georgia Association for Health,

Agritourism Liability: A Question in Georgia

By Doyice Cotten

Recently I stopped at an operation in South Georgia in which the operator charges one dollar each for patrons to enter a fenced area.  There patrons can view an assortment of animals including a horse, a donkey, a bison, a water buffalo, goats, and a few more animals. After I paid the admission, my wife and I took my grandson in. At the entry, a sign was posted. I was familiar with equine and other sport liability statutes,

Sport Safety Statutes Can Affect the Effectiveness of Liability Waivers

By Doyice Cotten

Most states have enacted at least one of what are sometimes called sport safety acts or shared responsibility statutes (e.g., equine, ski, whitewater rafting) intended to define or limit the liability exposure of operators of selected activities.

Some of these statutes hold the operator to a duty of ordinary care. When they do, a waiver cannot protect the operator in the event of ordinary negligence. Other statutes prescribe a list of specific duties of the operator.

Hawaii Waiver Law Clarified: Waivers Don’t Protect Against Negligence!!!

By Doyice Cotten

Waiver law in Hawaii has been unclear for some time. In the past, waivers have been enforced in Hawaii, however, in 1997 the Hawaii Legislature passed HRS § 663-1.54 which read in part:

(a) Any person who owns or operates a business providing recreational activities to the public, such as, without limitation, scuba or skin diving, sky diving, bicycle tours, and mountain climbing, shall exercise reasonable care to ensure the safety of patrons and the public,

Should You Worry about your Waiver Being Overly Broad?

By Doyice Cotten Waivers can fail to protect providers for a number of reasons. Often, they fail for being too narrow – for example, having the language fail to include the cause of the injury. Sometimes, however, the waiver writer attempts to be too inclusive and the waiver fails for being overly broad. In a Wisconsin equine case (Mettler v. Nellis, 2005), the waiver failed because the waiver was considered overly broad. The court ruled the language “any liability or responsibility for any accident damage,

Minnesota passes language requirement for liability waivers

By Allison Eklund

Thanks to Allison for permission to republish her informative article –  © 2013 Eklund Law, PC.  

As the dust settled from the Minnesota State Legislature’s spring session, a new statute passed affecting language in liability waivers caused some ripples through the equine insurance industry but didn’t attract headline news.

Most equine businesses offering riding instruction, carriage rides, or other services are familiar with liability waivers. 

Waivers Upheld for Negligence in 3 of 4 Trail Ride Cases in 2013

By Doyice Cotten

Trail rides have been a risky proposition for women in 2013. As can be seen below, a well-written liability waiver for trail rides will provide protection for equine providers from liability for ordinary negligence in most states.

Utah

In Penunuri v. Sundance Partners, LTD (2013), the rider signed a pre-injury waiver prior to a guided trail ride. Lisa Penunuri was injured by falling from her horse when the horse unexpectedly accelerated to close the gap to the next rider.

Understanding Negligence and Liability: “Causes of Injury” (Part 3)

By Doyice Cotten

In Parts 1 and 2 of this series, we addressed the issue of negligence. This post presents explains that there are 3 causes of injury and the possible liability associated with each.

Injury and risk may be placed into three categories. These categories are 1) inherent risks, 2) risks arising from negligent behavior of the provider, and 3) risks arising from extreme or aggravated provider behavior that goes beyond ordinary negligence.

Understanding Negligence and Liability: “Determining Negligence” (Part 2)

 By Doyice Cotten

In last week’s post Understanding Negligence and Liability (Part 1), we addressed this issue of negligence. This post presents another example to help the reader better understand the concept[1].

The following illustration regarding Happy Holiday Stables should help the reader to better understand what constitutes negligence.

Duty

To illustrate, suppose Happy Holiday Stables rents a horse to a novice rider for a trail ride.